x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Two-bin household recycling rolls into Al Ain neighbourhoods

Residents of the garden city will know they have entered the recycling age from Sunday when two 240-litre bins, one green and one black, appear on their doorsteps.

Al Ain // Residents of the garden city will know they have entered the recycling age from Sunday when two 240-litre bins, one green and one black, appear on their doorsteps. The green bin will be for recyclable items such as glass, paper, plastic and cans; the black one will be for household waste. The household recycling programme, announced yesterday by the Centre of Waste ManagementAbu Dhabi, will begin in the northern zone of the Al Massoudi district in Al Ain. One week later, the south zone of Falaj Hazza will follow.

Other Al Ain districts will be brought into the recycling programme within a year. Al Massoudi and Falaj Hazza were chosen to start the scheme because most of their residences are family villas. Plans to introduce a recycling programme in Al Ain have been in the works since the launch of the Centre of Waste ManagementAbu Dhabi in 2008. In November, the foundations of an emirate-wide recycling programme were laid in the capital when villa residents in three areas Khalidiya, Bein al Jisrein and Officers City started discovering pairs of new waste bins on their doorsteps in the first Government-supported effort to recycle.

In Al Ain, a campaign will begin on Sunday to inform residents about the environmental benefits of recycling and encourage them to take part in the project. Within a year, all Al Ain neighbourhoods are expected to have recycling bins. Residents will be asked to empty any liquids from containers before they are placed in the green bins and to crush any cans or plastic bottles. The waste management centre is hoping that all residents will co-operate with the recycling programme but does not expect everyone to do so at first.

In the initial stages of the project, instead of introducing penalties and levying fines against those who do not co-operate, the waste management centre will study other methods of encouraging households to join the scheme. The waste management centre will work with schools that have already initiated recycling programmes to encourage students to recycle at home as well as at school. Mahmood al Semawi, an Egyptian estate agent with clients in the Al Massoudi and Falaj Hazza districts, is doubtful, though, whether the Al Ain community will respond to the efforts. "People here don't think about recycling," he said.

"A really major campaign to inform the public will be the only way this project will succeed. Perhaps the waste management people should speak with mosque imams to ask them that they address this during the Friday sermon. When you preach to people that cleanliness and caring for the environment are an Islamic duty then maybe they'll respond." Florence Sarcon, a Filipina intensive care unit nurse at Tawam Hospital, said she would recycle when her new bins arrived but doubted that most other people would.

"Working in a hospital, I have been exposed to recycling. In hospitals we use the right bins without even thinking about it," she said. "The most important thing to do is educate people into seeing how they will personally benefit." @Email:ealghalib@thenational.ae